Aren’t ‘Non Buyers’ Buyers too?

Australian retailers collectively spend billions of dollars each year to position their brands for greater brand awareness and to drive store traffic. To determine the best ROI savvy retailers analyse their store traffic and calculate the cost of delivering a shopper into their store, or website, and determine their conversion rates to understand the marketing cost of sale for each channel.


When we look at conversion rates for non grocery or alcohol related retail operations, we find specialty shops in Australia are generally reported to be converting 20% – 25% of their traffic flow, while major retail brands with ‘High Street’ shops are achieving conversion rates of up to 50%.

This means 50% – 80% of the traffic through retail stores don’t buy anything. Does this mean that they aren’t buyers? Should we just forget about them?


There was some reason they walked into your shop in the first place – most likely, your advertising dollars at work! If they didn’t buy from you, this time, odds are they did buy from your competitor. And they will again, unless you establish a pathway to engage with them with relevant offers that attract them.


Of course, retailers will continue to advertise to maintain market share and extend their reach to drive traffic and buyers. Perhaps, while they’re doing this, some will appreciate the irony of reaching out to those same ‘potential customers’ who were in their store this week, but didn’t buy from them.


With respect to ‘non-buyers’ retailers should stop and ask themselves two questions:


  • If a potential customer didn’t buy from me this time, does that mean they’ll never, ever buy from me in the future?


  • If sending email offers is a cost effective way to engage with ‘existing customers’; wouldn’t the same apply to non-buyers too?


If you feel that a non buyer would buy from you in the future under the right conditions, and sending offers to these people via emails would be cost effective, your next question should be: How do I cost effectively acquire the contact details for both buyers and non buyers?

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